Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Time is Relative: Season 6, part four.

Back at the end of the 1960s, the people who made Doctor Who went temporarily insane, and made a massive ten episode story called The War Games. It went on for ages, and it was in black and white, but somehow it was still good.

I watched it recently, as part of my quest to watch all of Doctor Who. I also took a bunch of photos, off the TV, because pictures are great. I share them here, along with my incredible insights. Impress your friends by memorising my words, and sharing them later during a long car journey, at the pub, or during a moment of physical love.

The War Games

Doctor Who lands on a planet with Jamie and Zoe. They have all, clearly, been drinking. Maybe they know that it's their last story, and they're all excited. Later they will write their names on each other's shirts. Except Jamie, who is not so bright. He will just draw a wiggly line, and be delighted with himself for doing so.

Their pleasure in each other's company does make it properly sad that this is their last outing together. They've been a lot of fun.

Quite soon, Doctor Who meets some solders. This one is my favourite. He is doing excellent "Shooting a gun" acting. Look at his face! It's gone diagonal.


They're not smiling now, are they? No. They're going, "Oh no, it's a War!" The faces they are pulling suggest that they are at a dinner party and have all independently realised that it is an awful dinner party, and now they want to leave. Doctor Who is going to pretend to be ill, so they can all go home without offending their hosts.

Meanwhile, inside, an early version of Blackadder appears to be happening. This guy is phoning up his boss to say, "I don't think Doctor Who wants to stay. He's saying he's ill, but I think he just really doesn't like War. Which is rude, after all the trouble we've gone to."


Captain Not-Blackadder even has a friend who isn't called George, but definitely should be. It even looks like the same set. I suppose that's just what it looked like, in real life. But it's most off-putting. This story is neither as funny nor as sad as Blackadder, but it does have alien ray guns in it, which I think tips the balance in its favour.


Before long, everyone has decided that Doctor Who is probably a spy. He says he "isn't", but this does not convince them, because they think he "is". Everyone shouts at him for a bit.  You can tell by the weary resignation on Jamie's face that this happens absolutely all the bloody time.

The guy in the middle is one of the main bad guys. He has magic glasses that make people do what he says. Here, he's telling everyone to shoot Doctor Who with guns until his face comes off.

Captain Not-Blackadder is thinking "Sounds reasonable." That's the power of the magic glasses. And the madness of War!


These army guys are going to shoot Doctor Who with guns. They don't, of course. They get distracted and Doctor Who runs right off. In your face, army guys!

Fat Old Mr Captain Guy is hanging around, bothering Evil Bad Guy Man, who is clearly trying to signal "I have work to do, go away." The work he's doing, though, is Evil Alien Stuff. That's why he wants Fat Old Mr Captain Guy to go away. You're not supposed to do Evil Alien Stuff at work. 


Suddenly, there are loads of bad guys. Turns out there are all these aliens, who live in a cool Space Disco room, and it's them who are making the War happen.
The guy in the middle is the War Chief. He's very good at being evil, and so he's in charge. Evil Bad Guy Man is trying not to cry. He liked being in charge.

This is a pleasing shot, isn't it? I think it's meant to be a map of the War. I don't think they've spent that much time on it, though. It looks like they used crayons. I bet they were meant to do it weeks ago, and forgot, and did it this morning in a rush.

Hurray! It's Zoe. She's just been struck by the utter futility of being alive in a meaningless universe. If anything, though, this existential crisis only serves to accentuate her enigmatic beauty. I love you, Zoe.

Evil Bad Guy Man has been joined at the Scrawly Crayon Map by one of his mates. He's saying "Do you think they'll notice I used crayon?" His mate is thinking, "I quite like the crayon - it lends character."

Can't remember what's happening here. This is one of the good guys, so he's probably helping Doctor Who do an escape, by murdering all his foes. "Killing people is fun," he's thinking. Don't tell Doctor Who that - he'll go on at you for ages about how it's 'morally wrong', even though it generally works to his benefit.

A lot of the story is taken up with these guys shouting at each other. They're all bad guys, so I don't know what their issue is. It's not like any of them say, "Oh, maybe we should stop being so evil and killing loads of humans in a War." They all think that bit's great. I think it's more admin stuff, which seems trivial in the circumstances.
That guy in the background is the War Lord. He's the best one in the whole story. He's quietly cross. That's the scariest kind of cross.

Everything about this man delights me. He's a scientist and he works for the evil aliens, but he's impossible not to love. Just look at his quizzical face! He doesn't seem to care much about what's going on, as long as he gets to do exciting science. His glasses are also amazing.

Here's the War Lord, looking awesome. Behind him stands the War Chief, thinking "How is he so awesome? Why do I always imagine us on holiday together?"
It's quite confusing that they have such similar names. It's entirely possible that the War Lord is silent simply because he's thinking, "I can't remember if I'm the War Lord or the War Chief. What do I call this guy behind me? How can I talk to him if I can't remember his name? Or my own name? I'm a hot mess."


The big twist of the story is that Doctor Who and the War Chief know each other, from ages ago! This is before Facebook, so it's more of a big deal that it would be now. Doctor Who is saying, "So what have you been up to?"

The War Chief doesn't want to say, "I'm making humans fight in a big evil pretend War," because he knows Doctor Who will point at him and pull a right old face.

What's with these walls? Who designed them? Who thought, "Yes - that's a good idea. Walls that make you go mad if you so much as catch them out of the corner of your eye"?

The Security Chief is shouting at the War Chief. "We can't all be Chiefs!" He's saying. "It's too confusing!"

The War Chief isn't listening.  He's thinking, "Where can I get some sunglasses, like that guard, before I develop a massive, never-ending migraine from looking at that wall?"

Doctor Who and Zoe have found some cool space glasses. They seem to have given up on trying to sort out the plot, and are now just wandering aimlessly, hoping the story ends. Don't worry, Doctor Who. It will end soon, for more or less no reason.
Here is a beautifully composed shot of all the villains yelling in excitement. Events have come to an exciting conclusion, and everyone is being shot with guns.
Actually, it looks like they've all broken out into a big musical number to end the show. "Loooost, in tiiiiiime...."

At the end of the story, Doctor Who has to say goodbye to Zoe. He is sad, and rightly so. He's saying, "Goodbye Zoe. You were by far the most attractive of all my companions. And, unlike, say, Dodo, you weren't a total waste of everyone's time." 
He says goodbye to Jamie as well. This is also sad too, I guess.

Doctor Who's mates, the Time Lords, turn up to make the plot end and kill all the villains.

Doctor Who is relieved, but not for long, because they also decide to kill him. They say it's just 'changing his face', but every other time Doctor Who changes his face, it's because he's been killed by something. So they killed him. Harsh.

And thus ends the era of Doctor Who number two. It's been extra crazy, and I've enjoyed it.

Coming up next, colour! A new Doctor Who! And loads more photos. You can find it here.

For earlier stories in Season Six, go here.

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